Donna Carnevale Horwitz – a Buffalo native and the daughter of a local baseball legend – was sentenced Thursday in a Florida courtroom to life in prison for fatally shooting her former husband.
A jury deliberated two hours before finding Carnevale Horwitz, 66, guilty as charged in the fatal shooting of Lannie Horwitz, 66, a University at Buffalo Law School graduate.
Under Florida law, her first-degree murder conviction required an immediate sentence to life in prison.
“She can rot in hell,” Tootie Horwitz Kaplan, a first cousin of the murder victim, told The Buffalo News Tuesday night.
Kaplan said her family is still trying to find out who made the 911 call that brought Jupiter police to the Horwitz mansion shortly after the shooting, about 7 a.m. Sept. 30, 2011.
The murder case played out like a Hollywood movie script.
Though the couple was twice divorced, they were living together in Jupiter, Fla. when the shooting occurred.
During the murder trial, defense lawyer Grey Tesh unsuccessfully suggested to the jury that the couple’s son had killed his father.
Radley Horwitz, 39, now stands to collect on his father’s $500,000 life insurance policy, Kaplan said.
Lannie Horwitz was an honors graduate of UB Law School and practiced law in Florida, New York, Michigan and the District of Columbia.
For four decades, he developed and managed Florida real estate and was a distributor for LifeMax health products.
He was found on the floor in his bathroom early, shot multiple times.
Kaplan told The News that her cousin was about to fly to Europe with a female business associate.
Police initially classified his death as a suicide, a determination they quickly changed.
When arrested Oct. 6, 2011, Carnevale Horwitz at first refused to talk to police and demanded a lawyer. She has been jailed since.
The Horwitzes divorced in May 2001 but remarried that same year, only to have Carnevale Horwitz get her own residence in December 2001. Their second divorce was finalized in June 2002 but the couple moved back in with each other soon after.
According to Florida police reports, two handguns were found in the Horwitz mansion after the fatal shooting and both displayed evidence of having been fired the day of the murder.
Radley Horwitz told police he awoke Sept. 30 to the sound of gunfire and his mother screaming.
In closing arguments last week, prosecutors suggested Carnevale Horwitz shot her ex-spouse out of jealousy.
No defense witnesses testified at the trial.
Tesh, Carnevale Horwitz’ attorney for the past two years, could not be reached to comment about a possible appeal.
Carnevale Horwitz’ late father, Daniel J. Carnevale, who died in December 2005 in Buffalo at age 87, was well known in Buffalo baseball, having been a player, manager and scout for more than 60 years.